This exercise is a very effective way to improve the ability of the rider to stay centred and straight in his/her position and to keep the horse perfectly symmetrical with an even support on his 4 feet. The first part of this session is about flat work to get the horse and rider in a good disposition without the complication of dealing with a jump yet.
The simple fact of alternating between turns and straight lines, with some flexi-jump as guiding rails, is indeed difficult for a majority of riders. Most of the time, horses are zigzagging on the straight lines and are losing the impulsion in the turns. This exercise will be successful only if the rider is able to anticipate and get prepared for each part of the path while staying focused on his/her position. Any shift in the rider’s position compared to the median of the horse, can lead to a shift of the horse on the course. Michel goes through all the key elements to be successful with this exercise in order to obtain a horse in a steady canter with a steady pushing power on a steady track.
In this session, Michel teaches Selene and her gelding horse “Amor”. She starts the exercise at a trot. Horses and riders, at a lower level, can start the exercise at a walk once or twice. Starting the exercise at a slower gait will help the couple to get used to the pattern and to implement a good automatism without the difficulty of the speed added to it. As the session goes on, we learn on how important it is to follow the cadence, whatever the gait, in order to keep the horse on track.